The Durian: A Nutritious and Powerful Smelling Fruit

Durian is a large fruit that can weigh up to six pounds. A spiky exterior husk protects the soft, creamy pulp inside. A surprising feature of this fruit is the intense odor — but don’t let that stop you from trying this nutritious tropical fruit. Keep reading to learn more about durian fruit, different ways to eat it, and how to pick a ripe option at the store.

Key takeaways:

Durian is a tropical fruit commonly found in different regions of Southeast Asia. The durian tree thrives in hot and humid environments and can produce large amounts of fruit as it matures.

Some reports claim a single tree can produce up to 200 fruits, which is impressive considering each fruit can grow up to 11 inches and weigh up to six pounds. Durian trees grow very tall, and several branches bear thorny fruit, making them instantly recognizable.

How to eat durian fruit

Durian fruit can be enjoyed raw or cooked. It has a mild flavor, making it highly versatile in the kitchen. Some describe the texture as creamy or melt in your mouth, which lends to a very pleasant experience that feels decadent.

You can add durian fruit to:

  • Fruit smoothies
  • Ice cream
  • Sticky rice made with coconut milk
  • Meat curries

The nutrition profile of durian

The soft inside part of the fruit is the most edible. The fruit contains Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B6, and a moderate amount of magnesium. It also offers nearly four grams of fiber per 100 g serving, which is higher than other tropical fruits such as pineapple and mango. Dietary fiber is essential for satiety, blood sugar control, and bowel health.

Nutrition Tip
Adults should aim for 25–35g of fiber daily from food sources. This includes fruits (like the durian), vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and legumes.

Antioxidants in the peel

The durian's tough husk, or the peel, is typically discarded because it is extremely difficult to eat (and not nearly as tasty as the pulp). However, a new study is researching the potential nutritional benefits of consuming durian husk. So far, researchers have found a high level of antioxidants in the peel, which are essential for disease prevention.

Possible ways to consume the peel include ground flour, an extract used for supplements. Researchers will continue to investigate creative ways to decrease food waste and help people get the most nutrition from their foods, from pulp to peel.

Can you eat too much durian?

Durian fruit has a high potassium content, which can raise blood serum levels (clinically referred to as hyperkalemia) if consumed in large amounts. You should avoid eating durian fruit if you have been told to monitor your potassium intake in the past.

The high fiber content in the fruit may irritate some people’s digestive system, resulting in bathroom urgency or diarrhea. If you know you have a sensitive stomach, enjoy small amounts of fruit and see how you feel.

Allergy Warning
Durian fruit can cause severe allergic reactions. If you have a history of food allergies, you may want to stay away from this fruit or ask your doctor if it is safe to try.

Durian has a very specific odor

The durian fruit is probably most famous for its intense odor.

The pungent smell of an opened fruit has been likened to rotting vegetables, like cabbage and onion, and other unflattering forms of stink. However, people who grow up eating this fruit know the smell comes with the territory, and they do not let it stop them from enjoying it.

If you want to try the fruit for the first time, you can open it up outside so the breeze can clear some of the smell. Always be respectful when trying new foods from different cultures.

Picking a ripe durian fruit

Depending on where you live, access to durian fruit may be challenging. You may be able to find one at a large grocery chain, or you may need to visit a market specializing in South Asian ingredients and produce.

You can shake the durian fruit to test for ripeness. Hold the fruit to your ear and listen for a dull thud-thud sound from inside. Alternatively, some people knock on the fruit (like watermelon) and listen for a hollow sound within.

Fruits that are splitting open may be overripe and should be put back.

Try something new

Trying new foods is fun, especially if you’re bored and crave more variety in your meals. The durian fruit is rich in nutrition and a great addition to a balanced diet. You can add it to your smoothies, desserts, or savory dishes.

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